By Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison:
THE DA will today write to KZN’s Community Safety and Liaison portfolio committee Chair, to request that the provincial SAPS and Community Safety department account for steps being put in place to limit SAPS firearm theft and loss.
The move comes after a Public Access to Information Application (PAIA) revealed that KZN has the highest number of stolen or lost SAPS firearms of all nine provinces, with a massive 1 073. The figure is almost double that of Mpumalanga which was placed second worst with 592.
This situation is of grave concern to the DA particularly in view of the fact that our earlier attempts to obtain this information through the provincial SAPS were refused. This is unacceptable.
Many lost or stolen firearms are used to commit further crimes as criminals target police members for their weapons. This must be condemned.
But there is also the scenario of police members misplacing their duty firearms due to pure negligence. This must be equally condemned and these errant police members must face official sanction and consequences.
It is unacceptable that citizens are held to different standards of accountability around firearms than police members.
The DA will also request that the consequences for errant police members and criminals who kill police for their firearms are outlined to the portfolio committee.
The DA’s proposed Community Safety Bill calls for monthly reports on lost and stolen firearms, specifically so that solutions can be found before the situation reaches crisis mode.
The DA will continue to motivate for the adoption of this Bill in order to provide the citizens of KZN with responsible police members so that communities can live without fear.